Teaching Pedagogy

Chelsea Primary School's pedagogical approach to support our Whole School Instructional Models are underpinned by EDI (Explicit Direction Instruction) and MSL – you can read more below regarding these teaching methodologies.

EDI (Explicit Direct Instruction)

Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) encompasses research-based instructional practices explored by cognitive and educational researchers. EDI is the delivery of strategically planned lessons that explicitly teach new concepts to mastery. Our teachers use EDI to teach new concepts in mathematics and English, addressing the ‘surface level’ learning in our Beeliar Instructional Model.
EDI lessons contain eight main components for success:

  1. Learning Objective
  2. Activating Prior Knowledge
  3. Concept Development
  4. Skill Development
  5. Guided Practice
  6. Relevance
  7. Closure
  8. Periodic reviews

During EDI lessons, teachers utilise ‘engagement norms’ (TAPPLE) to motivate students and hold them accountable for their learning. Engagement Norms ensure children are doing something every minute, whether it be discussion with a partner, reading text aloud, showing responses on a whiteboard or gesturing. These norms are designed to keep students actively engaged in their learning.

Examples of engagement norms include:

  • Series of higher order questions posed throughout the lesson;
  • Students ‘pair-sharing’ their responses to organise ideas and allowing all students to actively participate;
  • Calling on non-volunteers to check for understanding;
  • Use of individual mini-whiteboards for immediate teacher feedback;
  • Students justifying their responses using academic language;
  • Teachers correcting responses at point of need;
  • Re-teaching concepts if 80% mastery has not been achieved;
  • Reading and tracking the text with the teacher;
  • Adding actions or gestures to assist with retention of definitions.

Since 2019, our school has been fortunate to have received ongoing professional development from Joe Ybarra, a lead trainer from DataWORKS, California. DataWORKS is a US company that has developed a comprehensive EDI program for teachers based on extensive research. Their exploration includes 25,000 classroom observations, analysis of over 2 million student assignments, and implementing EDI lessons in K-12 classrooms across all content areas. Joe has assisted with the implementation of EDI in our school and has worked closely with teachers and year level coaches to refine our EDI teaching methods.

Multi-Sensory Structured Learning

What is MSL?
Multi-sensory Structured Learning (MSL), is the new Literacy approach we have introduced in Prep to Grade 2 at Chelsea Primary School. It is a scientific based approach that uses explicit teaching to inform students of common spelling rules and patterns. Many of our staff have attended Professional Development sessions to fully inform them of the approach and how to effectively use this approach in the classroom.


MSL aims to use two or more of the senses, auditory (hearing), visual (seeing) and kinaesthetic (movement), when teaching literacy to form stronger neural pathways in the brain. For example; when learning to write the letter ‘d’ we get the students to write the letter (kinaesthetic), say the sound the letter makes (auditory) and watch the letter being formed (visual). Only 10% of the English Language is made up of irregular words and the other 90% are words that follow spelling rules and patterns. MSL allows students to be taught the spelling rules and patterns, without being afraid to explain to them why a word is spelt the way it is. It is important to use the correct language, even in Prep, such as ‘consonants’ and ‘vowels’ as well as ‘closed syllables’ and ‘open syllables’ to explain each concept.

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It is important that the students are aware of the difference between irregular words (words that follow no spelling rule or pattern and just need to be learnt by memory) and decodable or regular words (words that can be sounded out using a spelling rule or pattern). This distinction is an important part of MSL as students don’t get as frustrated by words that they can’t spell if the rule can be explained to them or they can be told that it is an irregular word. The explanations are very powerful for the students. In the classroom, concepts are taught in a cumulative approach. This means that each new concept builds upon the concepts that have already been taught. This allows for a higher level of success and requires you to ‘stick to the skill’ that is being taught which avoids confusion. Ideally, you work as fast or as slow as the specific group of students require, ensuring they understand one skill before moving to the next.


We have had fantastic feedback from parents and students who love learning the reason why words are spelt the way they are and the new found knowledge the students have is making them excited about learning. Parents have commented how their children are teaching THEM the spelling rules. It is fantastic to be using an approach that empowers our students so much!